Barclay’s Premier League
Saturday 5 February 2011, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Boateng, Kompany, K Touré, Kolarov, Milner, Barry, Silva (Razak 90), Y Touré (Dzeko 64), Tevez (c) (Wright-Phillips 87)
Unused: Given, Lescott, Vieira, Jo
Goals: Tevez (pen 17, 22, pen 41)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: Carlos Tevez
In a strange Premier League day where this turned out to be one of the lowest scoring games, City were out to recaptured some good form before the Manchester derby. And it started well for the home side, with Tevez hitting the post and Barry firing a cross past the face of goal, but nobody could get a touch, and a home corner came to nothing.
West Brom got their first chance on goal after a foul by Kompany right on the edge of the box. Brunt whipped the kick around the wall and Hart pulled off a good save to push it well away from the goal. Hart was in action again shortly after to touch a volley from the edge of the box wide of the post and then to knock an Olsson header over the bar.
But, just as the visitors were getting into their game, they shot themselves in the foot. A nice ball from Tevez let Kolarov, who had stepped up to left midfield for this match, turn in the box and he was brought down by Reid for a certain penalty. Tevez stepped up and, having missed his previous two, showed no pressure as he sent the keeper the wrong way.
Four minutes later, it got better for the birthday boy. Tevez played a neat one-two with Silva after having beaten two West Brom defenders and found himself through on goal. He slowed it down, composed himself and slipped the ball past Myhill and doubled his personal tally for the day.
Olsson was then needed to put in a last ditch challenge on Tevez to prevent his hat-trick, before Kolarov decided against the intricate build-up that City had been playing and fired in a ferocious effort from 30 yards that needed fingertips from Myhill to touch it onto the bar.
Silva was then just onside and he had his shot saved by the goalkeeper’s legs, as City began to turn the screw. Tevez then got another chance for his hat-trick, after a handball into the box and the Argentinean smashed the penalty into the box.
Tevez could then have made it four for City and for himself as he slid the ball just wide of the post with Myhill beaten and Silva was inches from getting a vital touch. Hart was in action again soon after as the half approached, pushing away Morrison’s effort to keep the three goal lead of the break.
West Brom tried their luck early in the second half, with an effort from Odemwingie, but it wasn’t troubling Joe Hart. The visitors started the half the better, but City were comfortable dealing with their aerial threat through Kompany and Touré and the home side kept possession well.
As the hour approached, City won themselves a corner and it was flicked to Kolo Touré at the back post. After a moment of trickery, he took on a left footed shot that was deflected wide, when his centre-back partner Kompany was in a good position for a lay-off.
The visitors should have pulled a goal back on 62 minutes, as Fortune found himself clean through on goal after some shocking defending from City. His shot beat Joe Hart, but it was into the side netting and City were off the hook.
Odemwingie then missed the target with a shot before Shorey forced Hart into another good save from a free kick on the edge of the box. City had taken their foot off the gas and were struggling to get any sort of attack going, as the goals were flying in everywhere else in the Premier League.
With just over ten minutes to play, Tevez should have had his fourth after the ball broke to Barry at the back post. He dragged Myhill out of position before rolling it sideways to Tevez, but the man on form scooped the ball over the bar when faced with an open goal.
Dzeko couldn’t stretch far enough to knock a Milner cross into the net, before he had an effort deflected into the keeper’s hands and shot one clean at goal, but that was also straight at Myhill. Wright-Phillips almost made it four in stoppage time after a brilliant run from his own half and an effort to match, but it was pushed to safety by the goalkeeper.
The game ended with some City pressure, but no goal was forthcoming and it turned out that City would be the only Premier League side to keep a clean sheet – not too bad for a team with recent defensive problems.